Optimizing Export to Excel

This page provides guidance on optimizing your record data for export to excel from the record list or a read-only grid. The configuration recommendations here take into consideration the constraints of the Excel format so you can adjust your records accordingly.

See Configure a record list to learn how to configure the Export to Excel option for your record lists, and Configuring the Read-Only Grid to learn how to configure the Export to Excel option for your read-only grids.

What can be exported?

Users can export up to 100,000 records, including rich text, images, and links.

What are the export limits?

The amount of record data you can export from your record list or read-only grid depends on the record type's data source and whether or not the Export to Excel feature is enabled.

If your record type uses a database table or a web service as the data source, and the Export to Excel feature is enabled on the record list or read-only grid, the user can export up to 100,000 records and up to 50 field columns. The Export to Excel button will be disabled if the list or grid exceeds this amount.

If the data source for your record type is a process, the user can export a maximum of 10,000 consecutive records only. We recommend adding a user filter to record lists or grids that exceed these limits. This will allow users interacting with the record list or grid to filter the records below the limit and export them to Excel. We also recommend that you configure the page size for all of your record lists and grids to display less than 1000 records to ensure users are able to successfully export the records to Excel when the feature is enabled.

Avoiding Query Timeouts when Exporting Data

Exporting data store entities from either record lists or smart services relies on sorting the entity by its primary key. This sorting ensures that data is exported consistently - that is, all rows are exported and no row is exported more than once.

Appian export operations use small batches to control the amount of memory consumed. The last row of a batch is tracked and used to determine where the next batch starts. By managing load this way, we avoid high memory consumption when exporting entities with a very large number of rows.

Designers should adhere to Database Performance Best Practices when creating their schema relationships. Because database views do not have a primary key, or the ability to have indexes, Appian recommends exporting data only from tables or materialized views in order to avoid query timeouts with large data sets.

How is data exported?

Exporting rich text

Excel only supports one text style per cell. Therefore, styled text will only be exported accordingly if there is one styled text per cell. Cells with multiple styled text will export as unstyled text. The same rules apply for styled links. Bulleted lists and nested lists are exported appropriately.

Exporting images

If your record list or read-only grid displays images, we recommend adding captions before exporting the record data to Excel. Only image captions will be exported. If a caption is not available, either the document parameter on the document image or the source parameter on the web image will be exported.

The following link types will export as text. All other link types will export as expected.

  • Dynamic Link
  • Start Process Link
  • Authorization Link

Excel only supports one link per cell. When one link is provided, the link will be exported accordingly. If multiple links are provided, Appian will export the link label followed by each link URL as text in parenthesis.

Appian recommends you add captions when using images. Below are some scenarios that could happen when trying to export images with links.

  • An image with a caption and a nested link will export the image's caption and the corresponding hyperlink.

  • An image with no caption and a supported nested link will export the nested link as text and as a hyperlink.

  • An image with no caption and an unsupported nested link (Dynamic Link, Start Process Link, or Authorization Link) will export the nested link label as text.

Why is export for service-backed records disabled by default?

Service-backed record types require additional logic necessary to handle paging, sorting, searching, and filtering. Export is disabled by default to ensure designers test this logic prior to enabling it.

You can test the expression used to call your web service integration by opening the Record List URL and testing the paging, sorting, searching, and filtering functionality described above. However, in order to export your record list to Excel for a record type that uses a web service as the data source, you should follow a few additional steps:

  1. When record lists are displayed on a web or mobile device, it is typical to have a small page size such as 25 or 50 records. Since record lists and grids are exported using batches to minimize memory usage, we require designers to support a page size of 1,000 records, which is the page size used when exporting service-backed records. Make sure to test your Web API or integration with this page size to determine whether the export operation will succeed.
  2. Temporarily enable the Show Export to Excel Button on your record type and save it.
  3. From the record list, try the Export to Excel operation a few times to test for additional errors. Any error raised by the source expression is logged to the Excel file. Use the error message for further troubleshooting.
  4. If #3 succeeds, you can enable the Show Export to Excel Button checkbox on your record type and save it.
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